On the latest episode of Guild Chat, host Rubi Bayer was joined by Team Lead Nellie Hughes and Game Designers Link Hughes and Aaron Roxby to talk about the second episode of Living World Season 3, Rising Flames.
Nellie said that when the team received the story beats for Season 3, they had an opportunity to take players to familiar territory from the original Guild Wars®. At the same time, they wanted the experience to be brand new. They created Ember Bay, an island that rose up out of the ocean in the 250-year gap between Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2.
There are few waypoints in Ember Bay, but with the appropriate Masteries unlocked, players can soar across the map on the largest ley-line rollercoaster in Tyria, or propel themselves through the air in a burst of fire by using Thermal Propulsion. The Thermal Propulsion Mastery is unique to the map, and the team considered several versions before deciding on its final form. One concept was lava walking, where players would have been able to run across the lava pools and falls without catching on fire or taking damage. But, ultimately, Nellie said that wasn’t as much fun as the version available to players in the live game. It’s possible to use the Mastery in tonic form, and players have been blasting across Ember Bay as flaming snowballs, trees, furniture, and more.
In its natural state, Ember Bay is harsh, barren, and unforgiving. The team added variety to the map by creating Captain Huuhes and her crew at Skritt Anchorage, and the stranded circus at Shipwreck Beach. Aaron discussed their research into real-life volcanic landscapes, like Hawaii, and the biodiversity that thrives in rich volcanic soil. The map originally featured lots of tar elementals…until someone pointed out that tar elementals take critical damage from fire.
The challenging Chalice of Tears jumping puzzle was designed by Environment Artist Josh Foreman. It was so difficult that Link doubted it was possible to complete, so he went through it bit by bit, setting up rope guides to remind himself which way to go.
If you missed last week’s Guild Chat, you can watch a recording below!